Data Protection Without Hardware Investments

By William Atkinson

A Houston-based managed services, consulting, outsourcing and cloud hosting firm, The Aldridge Company has recently purchased a handful of companies. “We have grown a lot by acquisition,” says Patrick Wiley, president and COO. “During our acquisitions, however, we would find that everyone we purchased was using one or two different backup products. As a result, we ended up with about nine different backup products which, of course, was a management nightmare. We wanted to standardize down to one.”

The Aldridge Company began searching for a single all-encompassing backup solution, and entered into a relationship with Axcient, a cloud-based Recovery-as-a-Service provider, in late 2011. “We evaluated all of the typical players, but found that Axcient seemed to resonate very well with us,” Wiley says. “When we first met with Axcient, we were impressed with the company and realized that its products could change the market.” For example, Wiley notes that data back-up by itself is insufficient unless the ability to recover backed up data also exists, and Aldridge was impressed with Axcient’s backup and recovery capabilities. Coincidentally, one of the companies that Aldridge had acquired was already using Axcient backup and recovery solutions so, “Axcient was already in the mix for us,” says Wiley.

Late last year Aldridge learned about more advanced technologies that Axcient was planning to introduce, including the Virtual Appliance, which would open up a clear data backup migration path, providing Aldridge with the opportunity to standardize its data-protection offerings with Axcient. With Virtual Appliance, Aldridge would also be able to repurpose other vendors’ boxes to run Axcient. And Aldridge had begun considering the idea of offering a private cloud to its clients, and realized that Axcient’s Virtual Appliance could play a major role in that offering.

Virtual Appliance is designed to provide data, application and system protection without hardware, allowing companies that run highly virtualized environments to leverage their investment in virtual servers and be confident that data and applications will always be protected and available, from anywhere. In a nutshell, Virtual Appliance allows organizations to protect data locally and replicate it to the cloud without the need to purchase any on-site hardware.

“Most of our clients have virtual environments, and we primarily standardize on VMware,” says Wiley. “Virtual Appliance is designed for VMware environments, and it pops right in to use existing storage to run the backup and then send it to the cloud, so we don’t need physical hardware on-site. We don’t see ourselves as being in the business of having hardware on-site. As such, Virtual Appliance has filled a very important need for us in that we are able to work in virtual environments without needing hardware on-site, shipping it off to the cloud for backup. It has been working very well.”

Still, though, it is rare for a new technology to work 100 percent perfectly from the start. “The product did begin working right out of the gate, but there were a few problems initially, primarily because it was an early release,” says Wiley. “However, we have been working closely with Axcient’s development team, and, so far, all of the testing is good.”

About the Author

William Atkinson is a contributing writer for CIO Insight. To read his previous CIO Insight article, “BeSafe Goes Real-Time With Emergency Services Data,” click here.

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